Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Books and Brinks

'Tis the season to receive books as gifts, even when you're a writer. Or maybe especially if you're a writer. My husband bought me a book written by a travel writer about his experiences being a travel writer. It's called, "Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?" Since my urban fantasy main character, Brenna, is a travel writer, I thought this would be an interesting read. The Huz also bought me a book about a woman's 40 years' experience working with fairies and nature spirits. Yes, you read that right. Working with fairies, as in autobiographical, not fictional, not fantasy. It's called "Forty Years With the Fairies," and promises to be an interesting read. A friend and member of the Moxie 4 (our absent number four, in fact) bought me a different fairy book--this one a YA fantasy novel. It's about the tiny, winged variety of fairy, and apparently in this story, though they be but little, they are fierce. They fight evil spirits, for one thing, and hang around with crows. What's not to like? Sounds like a good story. It's called "Dreamdark: Blackbringer."

These are not all I had on my "To Be Begged, Borrowed or Bought" list, but I'm looking forward to reading them, plus a stack of others. I also found one today in the bookstore, about myths and legends that relate to forests and trees; I've never run across this one before and had to put it in my reference library. (Borders gave me five free bucks, apparently in hopes that I'd come in and spend more than five. They were right, but I tried to keep it to a dull roar.)

And yes, I'm still working on the writing--both the spiritual nonfiction and the faery tale novella, as well as sending out short stories for submission. One of my short stories almost made it into an online magazine. I say almost because they opted not to buy it, but apparently had to consider it a while before they decided to pass. They said they liked it, but they had apparently missed the main thrust of a very important plot point. I was extremely glad to get the feedback, albeit sorry that though they liked it so much, they won't be publishing it, especially now that I've installed the necessary paragraph to explain the aforementioned plot point. Disappointing to have come this close and missed it again, but on the other hand they liked it so much they actually gave me personal feedback about why they rejected it. Rare with short stories, and this is not the first time I've had story feedback in the last six months. Indications are that I'm on the very brink of breaking into the market, and you know the conventional wisdom about brinks...you can't stay on them forever.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Long and the Short of It

I've just realized that after I finished the rewrite of the Brenna book and handed it off to Bob, I've been writing mostly short work this year. Three short stories in one year--which for me is almost unheard of--and now I'm halfway finished with the Novella.

I think the reason I've been working on the short stories more is because when I wrote my epic fantasy trilogy, I finished the whole thing. I stuck with it through the third novel even though the first one didn't have a publisher--or doesn't have one yet, anyway. I was writing that unpublished trilogy for close to nine years. I'm a little more reluctant to do that with the Brenna books, which are meant to be an urban fantasy series. Since I'm a third of the way done with the second Brenna book, I'd like to finish it regardless. Then when the first book does find its publisher, I'll have the second waiting on deck. But other than that, I'm enjoying the shorter stuff because it requires so much less of a time and effort commitment for me. I polish it just as much, but it's shorter and thus requires much less time. If one short story doesn't sell, it's not much more of a commitment to write another. That said, a published writer friend tells me that it's actually harder to break into the short fiction market than the long, since there are fewer slots available and many more short stories than novels. (Probably for the reasons I mentioned....)

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Well, Stef, I've tried to leave a response to your comment at least five or six times this week, but it won't let me do it. Guess I'll just have to comment in person at Moxie tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


This last weekend I went to Orycon, an annual science fiction/fantasy convention in Portland, Oregon. Money being tight, it was the one gift I wanted for my birthday. Things are just things, but connections...those are priceless. And I got to spend time with Patricia Briggs (and her wonderful family), which was completely awesome. She is as gracious and kind in person as she has always been on her forum, in emails, etc. She was the author Guest of Honor at this convention, and deservedly so.

On a different note, I have now finally identified the one gift that falls into the "thing" category that would be an extremely good gift for me. It is identified by three letters...G, P, and S. I don't need it out on the road; I just need it in cities. I get terribly lost in cities. This is the second Orycon in as many years in which I got lost not in the process of arriving at the con, (I'd mapquested for that, after all) but in leaving the hotel to try to get onto the freeway heading home. Apparently, I can find my way into Portland, and then I have trouble finding my way out again.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What Was Old Is New Again

Copied from my Facebook post:

Okay, so I'm really liking the way this novella is going. I feel almost guilty for it, because it's a retelling of an old faery tale, so I barely have to plot, other than the twists I'm throwing in for the fun of it. This is not taxing my abilities as a writer, but it's fun.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just for the Fun of It

I'm off to a good start on a novella meant to be the retelling of a faery tale. I like the way it's looking so far, and I like the twists I've planned to put into the original storyline. Yes, it's traditional fantasy in a medieval setting, but I happen to like traditional/medieval. It's nice to write something now and then just for the fun of it, and not because you're chasing the "hot" market trend from two years ago. The nonfiction is also going well enough; it has to go at its own pace, so I alternate it with the fiction. It's also kind of fun because it's a departure from anything I've ever done before and I never know exactly what will happen with it.

I'm done waiting on the market. I'm just going to write whatever I love and if the market wants it, then great. I'm actually pretty lucky--I have always written the books I love. I have only chased trends if I also happened to have a novel idea that played into a current trend but was also an idea I loved. I think deciding not to write that other novella last month helped me realize that whether I have a published novel yet or not, I've been doing the right thing. If I don't love whatever I'm writing, it won't be very good anyway. Writing is a lot of work; I might as well enjoy it. My day will come. It's only a matter of time, and I know that day is not far away now. I can feel it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Seeing It Through

One of the Moxie is almost finished with her novel, and we're very happy for her; it's been a great adventure, as this is her first finished fantasy novel. Two of us are working on novellas that technically have the same deadline, although our personal deadlines are different. It's nice to have people to whom you can be sort of accountable; i.e. they know what your personal deadlines are and will know if you miss them. That's also where the regular writers' meetings come in handy. I don't think I could write in a total vacuum. Something would be missing without even the small bit of accountability that a writers' group provides.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Don't Open That!

If anyone thinks they may have received a Halloween e-card from me, DON'T open it. Someone had fun with my email address and is sending them. I know this because I just received one, apparently from myself! It's got to be a virus or a trojan, or something. If you don't open it or click on any links, you should be fine.

Now, here is my official Halloween sentiment: Have a safe and sane Celtic New Year. And while you're at it, be good to each other.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Sub and New Venue

I found a different anthology wanting a different type of novella, and I like this idea and subject matter a lot better. I'm hoping I can write the novella in time to submit to this one. They sound like they're right up my alley.

One of the short stories went out on its second submission ever, to a market that I believe is perfect for the story. Now we'll see whether the market in question thinks the story is perfect for it. It isn't a pro market, but I chose perfect venue over potential money. It just felt right--so right it brought tears to my eyes, if you can believe that. The Huz was a little surprised at the miniscule amount of money I'd get if the story was accepted, and I know I usually try all the pro markets first, but this one was just...different. It felt as though the story was tailor-made for this market and all it represents. So we'll see. It all comes down to whether my instincts were right and whether my perceptions align with those of the editor. Cosmic stuff, here.

Now if the planets will align.... Just kidding.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

In the Wings

Right now, all three of my short stories are in between submissions. I need to decide where to send them all next, taking into consideration things like length limitations, genre, response times, e-sub or snail mail, pro mag or semi-pro mag, etc.

I can literally spend hours online just researching markets--and I often do. Someone just needs to buy one of the stories, already.

I've come to a decision about one of the novellas--I'm not doing it. I was never especially enamored of the idea in the first place, and then I realized that I was just grasping at straws by writing it. It would have written up just fine; in fact, I had the first scene written already, and it was reading like a great example of its type and genre, with what I'm pretty sure is an entirely unique take on the theme. But if my heart's not in it, I shouldn't write it, because it makes me feel like I'm selling out. Up to now, I've always loved the stories I've written, and I don't think that should change. I'm not willing to do just any old thing to get published. If that makes me an artiste, so be it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


At today's Moxie meeting, I was able to figure out the next step in the first of two novellas, so that was extremely helpful. And I've decided where to send the science fiction story next. We'll see what happens. I love it when we bounce ideas off each other and help each other figure out where to go next with a storyline. It really is true that no one writes in a vacuum.

Val's first ebook, Blade's Edge, went to #3 on the Samhain bestseller list after it came out earlier this month, so that's very cool. Go, Val! That's Blade's Edge by Val Roberts, for those who want to read a good sci-fi romance. Now it seems we three Moxie ladies are all working on novels and novellas at the same time, and then there's my nonfiction project still going forward, so it's busy on the writing front. Now it just needs to get busy on the publishing front, and then things will be...busy all around. Bring it on.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Follower Followup

Apparently, the problem with the followers widget is a known issue, and Blogger is collecting data to see whether they can find out what's causing the problem. So for now, we sit tight. At least, even if I can't see you, you can still see the blog.

Blank Space

For those who signed up to follow this blog--I'm not sure why the widget isn't working right now. Whenever I refresh the page, the followers section tries to load and then just shows up blank. It was fine earlier today, and now suddenly it's not. I'm sorry about that; if it isn't working again within the next few days, I'll email Blogger about it and see what they can find out.

Monday, September 14, 2009


New story alert. That's, what...two short stories in about two weeks? I don't plan to keep up this pace, but what happened is that I had one short story idea that had been percolating since spring, and then a new one burst upon the scene before I'd finished the earlier one. The result is that I have one short story still in consideration at a magazine, one that isn't at a magazine right now, and this new science fiction that I just finished writing.

The science fiction is a first for me. I usually don't do bolts and rivets, but this story was such an intriguing premise that I just had to give it a go. It's not set in space, but it is on another planet, and it does require technology in order for the plot to work. It was extremely fun and easy to write; once I got started on the body of it, I didn't want to stop. It came in under 4,000 words, so that's also a plus. And it does have an element of magic in it, just like I said it would.

Whenever Val tries to write fantasy, one of her characters is sure to pull out a blaster. Whenever I try to write science fiction, one of my characters is sure to pull out a wand. That's just a fact of existence in the Moxie. Stef...I'm not sure. She'd probably come up with a character who pulled out a wand that converted into a blaster.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Voice of Experience

Terry Brooks was in town today (Saturday the 12th) to do a book signing and reading. He's doing the last few days of his book tour for The Princess of Landover. It was fun actually having a well-known Fantasy author in town. Seems like very few people bother to come to Boise, so when someone does, it's a rare treat. The line for the book signing was pretty long, and a lot of people were excited to hear that he was in town. The advertising for the event wasn't all that good, unfortunately. I decided not to go say hi after the reading, since I couldn't afford to buy a book for him to sign, and of course I left all my other copies of his books at home. I've met him several times at the PNWA conference in Seattle, and taken classes from him.

The funny thing today was that someone asked him how he outlines, and he mentioned that he doesn't outline as completely today as he used to do before about 1998. I thought that was funny, as it was about then that I went to my first writers' conference, and I can remember him mock-pounding on the table, saying "Outline, outline, outline!" (He was adamant back then that detailed outlining was crucial, but since then he's backed off that idea a bit.) But I have a file on my computer with the outline for my first Oantra book (the epic fantasy series that is still looking for a publisher.) That file's title is "Outline, Outline, Outline!" Interesting that Mr. Brooks' experiences since that time have led him to change his tune about the need to plan things to such an extent before writing the book.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

2 Short

I finished a new short story, ran it by Val today and did the last fixes. Now it can go on the market. Since I seem to be on a roll, I think I'll go ahead and write the next one. Here's a shocker: my new idea is sci-fi. Not fantasy. But if you're reading this and you know me well, you'll also know that I must put a little magic in there somewhere. Heh.

Monday, August 31, 2009


I wrote another thousand words on the nonfiction, and did some more reorganization of the chapters and sections. Gradually, it's taking shape and becoming more recognizable as a book. It even makes sense. Cool.

The new short story got another couple hundred words before the last Moxie meeting, and should be complete before the next one. It's turning out great so far.

I started a novella-length paranormal romance project for an anthology with open submissions, and I have no idea whether I'll actually finish it or not. But I had an idea for it, so I thought I'd try it out, and with a limit of 30,000 words, it won't take an inordinate amount of time to write if I do decide to go for it.

The first novel of the special nine-book project is started, and the ancient Celtic research continues. Slow going, but I want to get the historic details as right as possible.

I love the Brenna book, and I will finish the second book; I'm just not rushing it. I admit I'm not in a hurry because I'm still waiting for the first one to find a publisher.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

1000 Words

That's how far I've gotten on the new short story. The rest will be done just in time for several online short story markets to reopen to submissions on Sept. 1. Not bad timing, that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Giveaway on Patty's Forum

Okay, folks, for two more weeks there's a big book giveaway on Patricia Briggs' forum, sponsored by the moderators, of whom I am one. I'm donating a copy of Iron Kissed, but there are many other books offered as prizes as well. If you're a member of her forum or want to join, have at it! Please note: these books are coming directly from the individual moderators. They will NOT be signed by Patty or even seen or touched by her. Just sayin'....

There's a permanent link to her website on this blog. You can also find my agent article on her site under the "Books", then "Writing" tabs, as well as several articles written by her husband, Mike.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program. I submitted the short story to the next magazine today, followed all their instructions carefully, etc. They have a response status page. Yay! That's much better than waiting in limbo.

And yes, Val, I do have an idea for another short story. I've been thinking about it for a while now. I know, I know, butt in chair. See the post before last. If I actually wrote the new story and brought it to Moxie on Sunday, would you be shocked?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Nope, But Send Us More

I heard back yesterday--or was it the day before? Anyway, the verdict is that magazine number four doesn't want the short story, but they want me to send them more stuff in the future. They enjoyed reading my story, they said, but they can't use it right now. That's nice that they enjoyed it. But I do wish they'd enjoyed it enough to pay for the privilege of reading it. Oh, well. On to the next one, whichever that will be. I haven't quite run out of pro 'zines to try yet, but if I do, then I will go to the semi-pros next. Nobody gets this one for free until I'm absolutely desperate for the publishing credit--and maybe not even then.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Random Stuff

Our whole community has been on alert since July 24 because of a little boy who went missing in Boise. Thousands of people volunteered for the searches that went on, and it was all over the media. They finally found him floating in a canal, but the investigation into how he got there is ongoing. This sort of thing really hits home to a lot of parents and makes you want to go hug your babies, and then hug them all over again. That, and protect them from everyone and everything, even though ultimately, you can't. Someday they'll go out into the world entirely on their own and then there's really nothing more you can do but love them and trust them to keep themselves safe.

In the middle of all the chaos, life goes on. I've been in the community garden bean patch so often that my arms are extremely brown, especially for someone with Northern European skin tones. Even though the beans were at the tail end of production, we've still managed to glean enough that we've canned over thirty quarts--still not quite enough to get a family of four through the winter, although we're getting there. And I think they've decided to leave over-mature ones to dry in the field, so there may also be dried ones to get later.

On the 3rd, the Huz and I celebrated our 18th anniversary. I cannot figure out where the time went. Seems like it could not possibly be that long, but it is.

Writing-wise, I've been tweaking my 28,000 words on the spiritual nonfiction project and trying to get it organized into chapters and topics. I also started the first of the nine-novel series that relates somewhat to the spiritual nonfiction. I haven't done much on the urban fantasy lately, but there should be a new Brenna scene soon. And lastly, I still haven't heard back on the latest short story submission, but this coming Saturday marks the end of the reading period they asked for, so after that I guess I can query if necessary.

The main thing is figuring out how to schedule writing time in with all the basic survival things I've been having to do. I can think creatively while toiling in the bean patch in the hot sun, but the main thing I tend to think about is whether my water bottle is running low or whether the scorchy feeling on my arms means I'm getting a sunburn. Yet I'm not in the bean patch all day, so even though I'm on a mostly daytime schedule now, I should still be able to schedule a smidgen of regular writing time for the fiction projects. I was going on the principle that if I got a publishing contract, I'd restructure my life to fit the model of being a professional writer. But today I had the epiphany that I need to turn that around the other way. First, I'll restructure my schedule to allow time so that if I were to get a contract, I'd be easily able to accomodate the extra writing that would be necessary. Hopefully, if I make room in my life to be the professional writer, that's exactly what I'll become. We'll see what happens. If I build it, will they come?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Magic Beans

Okay, so they aren't really magic beans. But it seems like magic; a community garden in the area is giving them away because they planted so many they have way more than they know what to do with. Thank goodness. I can feed the family. The older daughter and I went to the garden today and managed to come away with two grocery bags worth of beans, without getting heat stroke. It wasn't easy; the temp here lately has been in the triple digits. Can you say global warming?

I haven't heard from the current magazine where the short story's on submission yet, but I think there are only about two weeks left in their standard response period, so we'll see. In the meantime, I've been trying to decide what project to work on next. For now I think I'll just keep working on whichever thing tickles my fancy, and see what I come up with. I have come to the conclusion that I do want to finish the second Brenna book, though. I mean, it's already at least a third written, so I may as well finish it. Plus, I also need to keep reminding myself that the first Brenna book has only been on the market in its current form since April, and some publishers take a month to six weeks or more to read a manuscript, so it's still pretty fresh out of the starting gate. It could be that in a few weeks or months, I'll be really glad to have a second book to offer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Currently, I'm reading Cattle Lords and Clansmen by Nerys Patterson as research for a novel that has an early Celtic society. But I've also been considering what faerytale standalones might come from some of the more obscure faerytales, so I've been collecting Andrew Lang's collection of "fairy books." I have a copy of the Blue Fairy Book, and the Yellow, Pink, Grey, and Crimson. But I still need all the others: the Red, Green, Lilac, Olive, Brown, etc. I found the Pink and Crimson at a used bookstore, and I'm hoping that eventually I'll luck out and find the others used as well. Even for Dover, they've gone up a lot from their starting price.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth

Today is a peaceful day for me and the kids. The Huz is busy shooting a fireworks show elsewhere, and the rest of us are home taking care of the dog and enjoying a quiet house and a quiet neighborhood. Just another way to celebrate independence, I guess.

I'm thinking right now, though, about how people aren't really independent. Not completely. No one can live in a vacuum, and even as I prepared for the weekend, I had to depend on others for help with that. I had to go to the grocery store to buy hotdogs and buns, and supplies for S'mores. To do that, I had to have a vehicle, fuel for that vehicle, and at least a little money with which to pay for the food and fuel. I'm now sitting in front of an upright fan, which is blowing cool air on me, and which depends on the power company for the electricity to run. Etc., etc., etc. Unless you live in the deep wilderness and have access to water, fuel and food, you are dependent on someone and something, somewhere. True independence is rare or just possibly nonexistent, because in one way or another, we are all dependent on each other. Connected. We've gone from a nation of people who rebelled against British rule to a nation of people from all origins, with roots in all nationalities. The global marketplace and the response of other countries' stock and domestic markets, not to mention banks and infrastructures, are good indicators of just how interconnected we all are on this small planet.

To a writer, that dependence is clearly visible. Agents, publishers, and writers all depend on each other to keep the cycle of book production going. The process of writing can seem like such an isolated thing that it might be possible--temporarily--to forget all the connections that come into play on the road to publication. In the end, it's not just about how good you are, or how important your message is. It's about connections, starting with you and your material, continuing with you and your crit partners, you and your publishing team, and ultimately, you and your readers.

Happy interdependence day.

Friday, June 26, 2009


The last couple of weeks I've been helping the kids get caught up with their correspondence school work, mailing lesson packets, and freezing or canning food to put away for later use. We're as broke as ever, but hopefully things will start looking up soon. I never expected my writing to support us--at least, not for a long time--but I am looking forward to it bringing in at least a small amount of money. We could certainly use it right about now. So here's to thinking good thoughts, hoping a publishing contract will materialize sometime this summer.

I've been so busy lately that the writing has been at a minimum, but hopefully as I start to get caught up on a few miscellaneous household-related things that I needed to finish, I'll get back into the writing on a more regular schedule. At least I've been able to keep the short story in play, with no more than a couple days' wait between submissions.

I'm still no closer to figuring out how to do a proposal for the nonfiction, and I haven't quite passed the 30,000 word mark. Once I get to it, though, I don't think it'll take long to get it past that point, which is probably roughly the halfway mark. Unless spiritual nonfiction word length is shorter than 60,000 words, that is. I need to do my homework on this, so I know what to shoot for.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Verdict

The short story was rejected again. I got the email Thursday. It's too bad it had to take three months to find out a verdict, but there it is. I submitted to a different magazine tonight, squeaking in just under the deadline before they take a very brief hiatus from accepting submissions. I got the "success" screen, so I hope it counts as submitted within the appropriate reading period. Nothing to do now but wait...again. So far, the story has had only three submissions and rejections, and at least one of those submissions made it past the slush pile before being turned down at the highest level, so we'll see what happens now. There are lots of markets left, even though only a small number of those are pro 'zines.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

This Is Different

I'm actually at close to 26,000 words on the nonfiction, and it's fitting into my everyday lifestyle like hand in glove. The kids have commented that I haven't griped about not having enough time to write in quite some while, and that's true. This book hasn't involved my doing anything differently or even setting aside separate time to write--it's just come together in an almost organic process and hasn't taken up more time than normal journaling might take. It doesn't seem like I'm taking a lot of time for it, and yet the word count keeps mounting anyway. Cool.

On the fiction front, the short story has now been on its current submission for three months and one week, which means that now I can query the magazine about its status. That's the only problem with magazines that don't use a submissions tracker--you can't even query to see whether they received your submission until after their stated time limit, which in this case is three months. I truly hope they actually received the submission and it didn't go astray somewhere in cyberspace. I'd really hate to have to resubmit and wait another three months. I think if a magazine isn't going to have a submissions tracker, it should at least have a check-in acknowledgment, so the writer knows the submission was received in the first place. Oh, well. We'll soon see what's up, and if I need to resubmit, I will, of course.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

By the Seat of My Pants, Calmly

I can't seem to stop working on the nonfiction book, and I've never tried to write a nonfiction book before. I won't even claim that I know what I'm doing, but that actually makes it fun. I'm not sure what the proper length of a typical spiritual nonfiction book is, and I've never tried to write a proposal for one before, but it seems like no matter what I do or do not know about it, this book just keeps growing regardless. So it's fly by the seat of my pants time, I guess. I'm oddly okay with that. For whatever reason, underneath it all is this deep sense of calm. Which book gets published first no longer matters. One of these days, one of them will, and then the others will follow. Fiction or nonfiction, whichever, it'll happen at exactly the right time. I'm so chilled out about life in general lately that I have no inclination to get uptight about any part of this process. It's just...all good. Ahhh.

Have you let go of any stress lately? Did you know that stress and anxiety are completely unnecessary and you don't have to play that game if you don't want to? I recently found out that being stressed out is actually a choice, and I choose to no longer stress out. It's just so much easier to let that all go and just...be.

Incidentally, that metaphorical "cake" I asked for at the beginning of this month...I got it. It wasn't the cake I was looking for, but it was exactly the cake I needed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Work Goes On

I still haven't heard back from the last magazine I submitted my short story to, but it's coming close to three months since I submitted it. They said no one should expect to hear back before three months, but I'm seriously hoping that the real reason I haven't heard back yet is that the story's been shortlisted. And maybe that's even true. Another couple weeks, and then I can query and maybe we'll see what's up.

I'm also still waiting for the results from a recent submission of my epic fantasy novel, not to mention any possible news on my urban fantasy. The good thing is that I actually have manuscripts on submission. My new urban fantasy faerytale novelization is off to a decent start, which is also a good thing. It's just the stage of the game where you remind yourself to be patient and settle in for the long haul.

Primarily, though, I've found myself working on the nonfiction spiritual book. Gradually, it's coming together, and after another ten or twenty thousand words, I should have an even better idea of the form it's going to take. I'm starting to want to organize it into chapters, so I'll be playing around with that to see how it shapes up.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I'm Liking This

I now have a surprising 10,000 words written on my spiritual nonfiction book. I started one of the other fiction projects I mentioned, and I now have a good sense of my main character for the faerytale novelization. I think this one's going to be fun to do, and as far as I know, this particular faerytale has never been put into novel form. I'm actually liking this business of having multiple projects to choose from to work on, depending on what mood I'm in. That way, when one's a bit stuck, another won't be, and soon enough, I'll have a new finished project. Versatility; that's the way of it. Surely this way, I won't get bored and something's bound to sell, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I just started reading "The Fire In Fiction" by Don Maass. In the very beginning, he describes the difference between a status seeker and a storyteller. I will be completely honest and say that I seem to fall right in between the two. Yes, I want that book--any book--to sell. But I also want to tell a great story and fix anything wrong with it so that it is the very best that it can be. I want to have my cake and eat it, too. I'm currently a peasant with no bread. Please, oh wise universe, provide me with cake.

Friday, April 24, 2009


In the aftermath of the bronchitis, I have managed to get a little done on the second Brenna book. But I have generated a lot more words on the nonfiction project than on any of the fiction this week. At least with lots of options and no deadline as yet, I can just work on whatever seems to want to be written. It's actually surprising me how quickly the words accumulate on the non-fiction.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Bronchitis bites. One of the kids brought it home and we had it for two weeks, and then I spent the last week recovering from the damage all the coughing did to my ribs and the surrounding muscles/tendons. Even now, sometimes when I breathe, the ribs flex and pop. Ouch.

The result is that I have Moxie tomorrow and nothing to offer. I'm going to write something yet tonight, even if it's only a page or two. Grrr.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Sometimes it seems as though we never have enough options. Other times it seems there are too many. In the latter case, I tend to think, "Why choose?"

The first novel in my epic fantasy trilogy is still being reviewed by a publisher; it's too soon yet for me to know whether it's an acceptance or a rejection. But I've been reading through the manuscript of Aspects of Illusion nonetheless, formatting all the chapters into one big Word document while nuking all the exclamation points I'm finding in the manuscript (I did write this ten years ago, after all.) Otherwise, it's pretty clean and the story hangs together well. It doesn't bore me. The writing itself is good. These are all good things. So...a little material there to work with, not to mention trying to find sections or parts of sections that could be cut if need be (there aren't many I could cut without impacting the plot, but whatever I need to do, I'll find a way to do.) When that's done, my Option A is to go heavily into edits on book 3 of the trilogy, just in case something happens with book 1.

Option B involves finishing the second Brenna book. I really want to do this, but I'd also like to hear more publisher feedback on the first book and its place/chances in the market. So I've waffled a little bit. On the one hand, if no one picks up the first book, the second book will be unnecessary. However, it won't hurt anything to finish the second, which is already a third of the way written. This way, when the first one does find a home, the second book will be done already. That could take a lot of pressure off me. It would be not only smart from a stess standpoint; it would be good business, also.

Option C is to write that novelization of a fairy tale that I mentioned briefly in the past. I have a much better idea of how to do it now, and it would be a standalone, so that can't hurt. It lends itself very well to urban fantasy, which doesn't hurt either. No series to commit to. And it would give us another book to market to editors who already like my writing. Sounds like a win-win.

Option D is a series that is a little different from all the others. I won't go into the particulars except to say that it would be fiction, but not exactly the standard commercial/mass market fiction. It's a very special project that I'm excited about, but it will take a very long time to write, and will have to be written concurrently with all the more commercial fiction.

Option E is a spiritual nonfiction project, and I'm not sure exactly how long it will take to put together. This one, I just need to let happen as it happens and not worry about exact deadlines or strict rules. It's way too subjective and intuitive for that. But if it comes together right, it could be a beautiful and transformative thing. It's also a risk and a step out on a limb since I'm not a recognized expert in the spiritual field. But then, I suppose all writing and indeed all spirituality is a step out on a limb, no matter what belief system is involved. I guess the only thing to do here is let it happen, then take a look at the completed work and prepare for another leap of faith. Which, I guess, is the point in the first place.

Why choose? Every one of these projects are important to me, and they all seem like a sensible next step along my writing path. So I guess I'll just have to do them all, and see what happens. When I'm stuck on one, I can work on one of the others. That could be good. At least there are things to write, things to work on.

In the most technical sense, I'm still at the place where the options are limitless.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Magical Feasts

Fantasy Magazine's blog-for-a-beer this Friday was instead a blog-for-an-amuse-bouche. But the point is that it got people thinking about food and feasts in general, and magical feasts in particular. My thoughts were drawn back to the idea of the faery feast, of which mortals supposedly must not partake for fear of not being able to leave Faeryland. What might the Top Chef of the faery realms come up with that would hold that much of a lure? I mean, sure, almost any food can seem like ambrosia when you're famished, but what would really lure a person beyond any idea of mortal food?

Not many nights past, I was watching a show about various anomalies in the human condition, from a man who can tolerate extreme cold to one who was born without eyes but can paint pictures accurate in every way, from color to perspective. The story that stayed with me the most was of a woman with synesthesia, who not only sees color when she hears sounds, but also tastes the sound as well. Her senses are fused so that they work together, allowing her a sensory range far beyond that of the usual human experience. So when faced with the idea of food, magic, and food magic, I wondered what it might be like if the synesthesia operated in reverse.

What if the taste of some magical amuse-bouche opened and fused human senses so that when you took a bite, you heard the most exquisite music or saw colors you didn't know existed? What if the effect of all your senses burst upon you all at once, and the ripe taste of a strawberry, for example, set off a symphony in your head and dazzled you with visual fireworks? Imagine you're at a goblin market. What would you pay for one bite of a delicacy that would do all those things? If Turkish Delight or faery food were like that, I can well imagine why a person would go back for more and pine away without it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Not much news--yet

No word yet from the third magazine I sent the short story to, but the guidelines say I'm not to expect any word until nearly three months from now, so that's no big deal. It's probably still sitting in the slush pile at this point.

The Brenna book continues in the marketing-to-publishers stage, and in a surprising twist, my first Oantra book is going out again as well. So we'll have to wait and see. That's the way it is with the publishing industry--lots of waiting. The best thing a writer can do is keep working on new stuff in the meantime. I need to finish the second Brenna book, since I'm about a third of the way through it. And I need to revise the third Oantra book, since Aspects of Illusion is going on submission this week. It's good enough news for the moment.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Realms of Fantasy is not closing! I cannot describe how much hope that gives me. And saved by a company called Tir Na Nog Press...what could be better? Joyous noise and smiles all around.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Importance of Light

Having researched short fiction markets extensively over the past couple of weeks, I've been thinking about what my personal standards are going to be. I notice--and the online magazine Andromeda Spaceways comments on this as well--that there are an awful lot of speculative fiction magazines around today that seem to be dedicated to the dark and disturbing. I understand, to a point. I mean, what kid hasn't sat around a campfire and heard or told ghost stories? To an extent, we humans seem to love to be scared. To an extent. But as I contemplated whether to try to write something dark and disturbing just to break into print, I realized something about myself. I don't want to settle. I don't want to write something that doesn't come naturally to me or that I don't care about just to get credentials. If I can't honestly say that I'd be proud to have a particular story or topic appear as my debut story, then I won't even write it, much less submit it.

Today I tried out several ideas for dark, disturbing tales that I could write just for the markets that seem to want that sort of thing, and ended up dissatisfied with all of them. Okay, let's call a spade a spade; I hated them. The problem is, I find I don't prefer to write such dark and twisted things--not without some sort of redemption at the end. I am willing to explore the dark parts of the human psyche in my fiction, and I'm not afraid to write about the things that go bump in the night, but I want some light with my darkness. If a piece I've read disturbs me but leaves me with a map for how to get home, if it leaves me feeling that there's hope, whether bittersweet or not, then I'll probably like the story just fine. But if it takes me into the dark and leaves me there, I probably won't be back for more of that author's fiction. Likewise, I'm starting to realize that no matter how dark a corner I might lead a reader into with my writing, I probably won't rest until I've led the reader out again. If that means I can't get published in any of the magazines that want primarily dark fantasy, then so be it. Walt Disney used the rule, "Always leave 'em laughing." Well, I'm not that much of a comedian, but I at least want to leave them with a hint of a smirk.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Well, I now know what pending means. That's when the slush reader did not reject your story outright and has passed it on to the editor for consideration.It's actually kind of fascinating to watch a submissions tracker, particularly if you make it out of the slush pile and into the "under review" category. I'm going to take that to mean that the short story came very close to a sale this time before being declined. That's two markets down, so far. Onward....

Saturday, March 07, 2009


What does pending mean when applied to the status of a short story? I'm not sure whether it means the story is soon to be read, or has been read and now is waiting for a final verdict. I guess I'll find out soon. On the submissions tracker for the magazine it's currently at, the story used to be classified as "unread slush." Now it's "pending." What does that mean? I spent way too much time trying to search online to find out, but to no avail. Argh.

About the short story...a teaser...it has to do with the Sidhe. No surprise there, right? So does the Brenna book. But as short stories go, this one is really something special. I can honestly say that it is the story I'll always be proud to have written--or whatever it was that I did with it. It wasn't so much that I wrote it as that it wrote itself through me (or something like that). What I can say for sure is that I lost over 4 hours of time, and wasn't even aware of it passing until just before the climax of the story. I suffered very little discomfort in my hands and wrists after all that concentrated typing. It's probably a good thing I have an ergo keyboard. I can't remember how long the last part took, either. None of that matters. What matters is that it was written. I'd love to be able to share it with people. So now I just need to get beyond "pending."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dated Pop Culture

Okay, Bob was right.

When I first wrote Ninth Wave, I wanted to have Brenna use TV and movie references. Having her make those references was part of a character quirk I wanted to use, partly because at the time I didn't have as good a handle on her as I should have. When I turned in the manuscript the first time, my agent told me to remove all those pop culture references because they dated the book. Well, when they're current, that's no problem, but years or even decades later? I am currently reading a perfect example of how those kinds of pop culture references can date a book, just like Bob said. I'm glad he made me take out the movie references in my novel.

I'm reading books by two different authors who wrote back in the 1980's, and while I get all their pop culture references because they're from the time frame when I was in high school and college, not everyone who reads those books will find them familiar. My daughter certainly won't, though she's heard at least some of the music. For me, reading them is like a blast from the past, and I'm not sure whether I actually enjoy it or not. The stories are both great, but the dated culture...well, let's just say that I think I prefer to read about things either in the present or within the last decade, rather than things that are obviously from twenty to thirty years ago. Alternatively, I'd rather read about something very, very old--so old that it seems new again.

That said, even when it isn't a reference to pop culture, something else will probably date the books being written today, whether it's the make and model of a car, a style of phone, a computer, or just about anything. That's the only problem with modern urban fantasy. Twenty years from now, the tech of today will be obsolete, and these books, too, will be dated. The stories will still be great, but it'll be my kids reading them and saying, "Wow, what a blast from the past."

No matter how much people may gripe about epic fantasies set in vaguely European medieval cultures, these stories are fortunate enough not to be dated in quite the same way as stories set in a time frame that living people can actually remember. It may be that the medieval stories will one day seem fresher than the pop-culture-laden stories of today. I guess in about twenty or so years, we'll have to see.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Short and Sweet

The short story is done. That's the interesting thing about the subconscious--you set it to work on something and sooner or later it will serve up whatever it was that you ordered. (Of course, you might have asked for something on the order of apple pie and got lemon merangue instead, but often the things that happen unexpectedly are the best.) I had to spend quite a bit of time last night preparing several mini books for eBay, so it was late by the time I got done. At that point, I still didn't have anything to bring to Moxie today, so I opened a blank document and put fingers to keyboard. I threw out the previous two or three beginnings altogether and used an entirely different POV, who turned out to be the perfect narrator. Next thing I knew, nearly 4,000 words and about four hours had gone by, and I was extremely hungry. I have never had a whole story come out that cleanly in the first draft before, in one marathon session. It wasn't easy to wake up after only three or so hours of sleep and get to my meeting, but determination laced with caffeine did the job. I've run the story by four people so far, and they all reacted exactly the same way to it. I believe something along the lines of "wow" was the consensus. Now that's an amazing feat, just when I needed one! If this story doesn't sell, I'll eat my magic hat.

Now to format it and pick a magazine to send it to.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Decent Human Being

I must now sing the praises of a stranger on the Internet, who provided a solution to a very perplexing and potentially expensive problem.

Somewhere between two and three years ago, I bought a Laser Jet 2600n for Pookatales Press. Awhile back, I began noticing a variance in the distribution of the magenta toner on some of the images I printed out, but assumed the cartridge just needed to be shaken to redistribute the toner.

That wasn't the problem. I replaced the nearly-empty color cartridges, but when some of my mini book text wasn't as dark as it should be and the graphics looked faded, my husband and I started looking into the problem. Nothing helped--not recalibration and not bumping up of pixels or toner intensity--nothing. When we printed a test page, everthing else looked okay, but the magenta looked...faded. I assumed the cartridge was damaged, and went out the next day to replace it. That didn't fix the problem, and I had nothing else to try. So I Googled a question about why my printer was not printing the magenta correctly--hoping that by chance, someone would have an answer. And they did.

Turns out the HP Color Laser Jet 2600 series all have a common design flaw: the mirrors deep inside get gunked up with dust and toner, especially the mirror that is on the bottom. The magenta cartridge is on the bottom, which is why it shows symptoms first, but eventually all the colors will get faded and icky. HP apparently hasn't addressed the problem, but someone took one of the printers apart and figured out what was causing the issue. Not only that, but he made a PDF file with detailed instructions (including pictures) for how to take apart the printer and clean the gunked-up mirrors. I was extremely impressed. I found the question and Mark Froggatt's reply on this page, with the PDF file of the instructions attached to his post.

This person has just saved me a lot of money and hassle. Of course, the Huz was the one who got to take apart the printer and put it back together again, but he says that he'd never have dared go so far into the innards of the printer without those directions. We'd have had to replace an otherwise perfectly good printer after use for less than three years, had this person not taken the time and trouble to put a solution out there for anyone to use. Some days I actually gain back some faith in my fellow humans. This was one of those days.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The last time I talked to my agent, he was very happy that the last round of edits to The Ninth Wave were done, and we talked about which editor's desk it would land on next. I can't say a lot about that at the moment, but it was going to a very, very good place, so until I hear otherwise, I'll keep hoping for the best. While he was very happy to hear about the last critique, the rewrite and the results thereof, he wanted to know whether I had anything else to tell him. Did I have any story credits, any other contest results, any other irons in the fire that might prove useful? Well...no. I didn't . I wish I did. Therein lies my problem: credentials and the lack thereof.

Last year, The Ninth Wave was one of the eight finalists in the PNWA writing contest's Science Fiction/Fantasy category. They told me that it's very, very hard to final in this contest, and that last year they had a record number of entries. So that was huge for me. But it wasn't an actual publication credit. Due to the special crit, the rewrite and my kids' correspondence school schedule snafus, I haven't had time to enter any other contests. And I have a very hard time writing short things. Remember my trouble with the synopsis? I got the thing down to three and a half pages. Whoohoo. If I needed a one-page synopsis, I'm not sure how I'd do it. I have written a few short stories, (all in the epic fantasy genre) but I sent all those out years ago and when they didn't get published, I used them as text for my miniature books. So all my short stories have been self-published. The distribution was so low that it hardly counts, but technically I can't offer first publication rights on them since they came out through Pookatales Press. Some of the limited edition copies were sold to people in other countries. The books are even listed on Amazon, though they don't have all the information and you can't buy them from there. They are still available through my Pookatales Press website, and I sometimes sell them on eBay.

If I need to pull another magic rabbit out of my hat and come up with some other little tidbit of credibility, I guess I need to write a brand new short story, then submit it to the current roster of fantasy 'zines.

Gah! I so rarely write short! I don't like doing it. In the hopes of writing a new short story to take to the Moxie this weekend, I've been messing with an idea all week long, and I must have rewritten the first thousand words at least three times already. For whatever reason, I find it's harder for me to throw out a thousand words of a novel than to throw out an entire short story if it isn't going well. So of the maybe 3000 total words written this week, I've probably thrown out 2500 of them. I feel like I need this short story for the potential credit...but I'd really rather just keep writing on the second Brenna novel.

If I can't get a really good start on a short story--any short story--before Sunday, I'm going to bag it and just write on the Brenna book. Or maybe I'll manage to do both. I was hoping that doing some more work on Brigid's Forge could be my reward for writing a tight, edgy short story that I can shop around to magazines. Sigh.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hardcovers vs Paperbacks

Wow, my fingers are tingling. The huz was working out in the garage, which is insulated but not heated, and I went out there to talk to him. By the end of the conversation, I was more chilled than I realized. Now I'm in my office, and my fingers are tingling as they warm up. It's interesting trying to type like this--kind of like trying to talk after you've just eaten ice cream.

Note to self: It isn't spring yet.

When the new Patricia Briggs book, Bone Crossed, came out in hardcover, I had two different opinions about the change. Like many others, I'd been waiting eagerly for the next installment in the Mercy Thompson series. Of course, all my other copies are in paperback, since that's how the series started out. Now the fourth book comes out and it's in hardcover, which leaves me with the same dilemma that every other book buyer has. Do I buy it in hardcover, or do I wait for a year for the paperback version to come out? Well, my answer is "yes."

The issue is complex. First, I can choose to afford the hardcover if I really want to, but with money as tight as it is, I shouldn't. I should spend the money on food, or bills, or something like that. But I don't. I buy the hardcover for several reasons. One, I want to support Patty's success. She deserves the switch to hardcover, to the big time. I know the book will be fabulous, and I really do love hardcover books, so I don't mind owning the hardcover. It's beautiful, and I'm proud to have it on my shelf. But...it's expensive, so in the weeks before its release I waffle about it. I put my name on the waiting list at the library, where I clock in at number sixteen for the hold. My intentions are to be patient, save money, and wait for the paperback, yet still get to read the story--at least within a few months of its coming out. But we all know I'll cave. I'll at least go to the bookstore and sit in one of their comfy chairs and read the book there in hardcover. I don't have to buy it. But wait...my husband and kids love Mercy, too, and they probably won't have the time or ability to go to the store, sit in the chair and read the book for free. They, too, can wait until the library's copy is made available to us. But who wants to wait? I don't, so I can't expect them to. Plus, if I read the hardcover in the store and don't buy it, but then I want people to buy my books when they're published, what does that make me? I can't hope people will spend money on my books when I'm not prepared to spend money on other people's books, even if I am broke. So what do I do?

I rush to the store and buy the book in hardcover on release day, of course. And then I devour the story over the course of the next two days. Then I promptly start reading it out loud to the Huz...he likes it when I read, and it's good practice for my own author readings someday. So less than a week goes by, I've bought the hardcover, and I've read it twice. When the paperback comes out, I'll buy it, too; it'll match the rest of the series already on my shelves. I've paid it forward, I've supported an author I love, and I'm still broke, so one book more or less isn't going to make a huge difference. I'm really happy about Patty's success, and wish her all the best as her star continues to rise.

The writer in me looks forward to the day when I'm successful enough for my books to come out in hardcover, which the addicted readers will then buy because they can't not do so. It's not that I'd really want to cost them even more of their hard-earned money; I doubt I'd see that much of it anyway. For me, it's not about me getting more money. It's about how well my work can capture the readers' interest. I want my work to be good enough that readers would be willing to spend extra money just to get a new book fix. That's a serious gauge of how good an author is at the writing craft. What writer wouldn't want to be that good?

If I, the reader, am not willing to spend extra money to buy your hardcover, then...I guess I'm just not that into you. If I hurl my money at the hardcover because I can't not have my book fix, then you've hooked me and reeled me in long ago, and no change in book format is going to shake me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Notes Posted

Okay, promise kept. I said I'd post the notes from my urban fantasy presentation over on Genre Bender, and I did. As I said before, they're very basic. But I promised I'd post them for those who missed the last Boise Spec-Fic meeting or for anyone who's just curious. (Genre Bender has some great articles by unpublished writers for unpublished writers; they're worth a look.)

Monday, February 09, 2009


One of the great things about being in a critique group is that you get to see your partners' manuscripts before anyone else does. You get to make comments, point out things that you loved or things that bother you about the other people's stories, and generally be in on the stage when the gems are rough--before they're tumbled and polished to a fine gloss. It's fun to watch the process, to look at a polished piece and know what it looked like before it was polished. Kind of like looking at your friends' kids and saying, "Gee, I remember when she was in diapers, and now she's all grown up, tall and beautiful."

There is another side to that, though. You see a rough draft. You suggest changes. The crit partner makes changes, then brings the manuscript back with the changes in place, but in many cases, it still looks much the same. You go through it again, maybe catch a few more things that need to be fixed, make comments, and then the writer takes the work home again and makes more changes. Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. By the time you see the supposedly final, polished, submittable version, you've often read the manuscript so many times that your eyes are starting to cross and you're tempted to skim. But that's exactly the time when you shouldn't skim. If there are errors in there now, chances are the writer has gotten tunnel vision as well and can't see the few little typos or other issues that may be there, as yet undetected by anyone because of the more glaring errors that stole the spotlight in earlier drafts. The writer might even have added errors by mistake while writing that final draft, and just can't see them to save his soul--or his manuscript.

This is often the stage that benefits the most from completely fresh eyes, but sometimes there just are no fresh eyes available. So it's up to the crit partners to read just as carefully the fifth time through as they did the first. I try, but occasionally I still find myself tempted to skim a scene I've already read in triplicate. When my friend who is entering the contest sent us her final draft this last week, I took a few days' break from reading it and then finished it up at Sunday's Moxie meeting. And even though I'd read it more than once before, I'm glad I didn't skim. This final version was tight and fast, and I could see where all the fat had been edited out of it. All the slow parts were gone. It held my attention despite the fact that I'd seen it so many times before, because it was so polished. It was like looking at a friend whom you've only ever seen in blue jeans or cutoffs, only this time she's wearing an evening gown and looks like she's ready for the Emmys. It was the kind of transformation that makes you say you're proud that you "knew her when...".

But with a smile and a nod for my crit partner, I'm glad this entry is ready to go out the door, and doesn't need to try on another dress. Good job! Heaven knows, you've read my stuff time and again in the past; it's good to return the favor.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Goodbye Clutter

The cleaning and reorganizing I started on Tuesday has continued through the rest of the week. Yesterday I dragged the vacuum in, and today I've been labeling file folders and sorting through all the various papers, recycling some and filing some. I can't believe how much clutter had accumulated in my office.

While I was sorting, I had a look through my folder of rejection slips that date from 1984 to 1999, spanning articles, short stories, and novels. Some of the rejections were just my own query letters returned to me with a "not for us" stamp on the top. They made me smile. Some of my queries and rookie mistakes made me smile. I'll keep the rejection letters. If nothing else, they prove just how long I've been at this game. But I don't need the clutter, and I'm glad to see it go. My office looks like an office again--a place where someone might actually write a book and run a business.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

News and Organizing

I had some really good news yesterday; the special critique is done and the verdict is in. Apparently my rewrite worked well, so this morning I sent the manuscript back to Bob. Now things can continue to move forward on marketing The Ninth Wave to publishers.

Today I'm working on cleaning and reorganizing my office, and I also have to get a critique done for one of the Moxie ladies who's planning on entering a contest and needs the first couple of chapters looked at, pronto. So far, the whole day has revolved around writing in one way or another, which is a nice change.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The SS

We had a Moxie meeting today (well, technically yesterday, but I don't consider my previous day over until the new day actually dawns), and I think I've finally finished shortening my synopsis. Try as I might, I can't see how to make it any shorter and still retain the most critical plot points. It ended up about 3 1/2 double-spaced pages long. I'm hoping that's short enough--I've rewritten it several times and cut as much as I can find to cut. For me, a 3 1/2 page synopsis is a miracle of brevity.

I had a free Edwards' Cinema pass that was to expire in mid-February, so I went to see Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Nice special effects, and a nice but tragic love story--as we already knew to expect from details revealed in the other two films. This one's the prequel to the other two, and I think it worked. So there's my fantasy movie fix for the next little while, until Inkheart comes to the second-run theater, or until I go raid the library DVD shelves again.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I heard from my special critique person about the revised Ninth Wave, and while she hasn't finished it yet, so far she likes the changes I've made, so that's awesome news. Over the past couple of days, I've finished going over the novel and making changes according to the latest crit I got back from Stef, one of my regular critique partners. It's just little stuff--nothing to rewrite, really. Just a change to a sentence or a word here and there, or the occasional clarification as to how Brenna knew such-and-such, etc. I'm just tweaking. Fussing. Deciding whether to capitalize all the occurrances of the word "Sidhe", or treat it more like the word "human". Tweaking.

I'm still not finished with the synopsis, and it needs more than a bit of tweaking.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spec-Fic Meeting

Whew! I managed to get my urban fantasy notes written up for the Boise Speculative Fiction Writers meeting less than an hour before the meeting started. I wrote them at the library while my older daughter was at her book club meeting, so when she was done I had to take her home, (thankfully not far from the library) print out the notes, and leave again. Depending on traffic, the commute to the bookstore where the Spec-Fic meeting is held is somewhere between 25 minutes to a half hour. The meeting normally starts at 6:30. I left home about 6:06, and arrived at the meeting without speeding, and with one minute to spare. Nice. Time really does bend, apparently.

The meeting went well enough. While several of our usual attendees were unable to be there, we had a few new people, so it balanced out. I didn't do handouts this time. My UF notes are brief, but I'll probably post them on the Genrebenders blog as soon as I get the chance. At that point, I'll amend this post and include a link. For anyone familiar with the urban fantasy genre, the notes are brief enough that they probably won't tell you anything you don't already know. It's just a basic overview of the genre, mostly aimed at the people who ask, "Just what is urban fantasy, anyway?" In any case, it'll provide a post for Genrebenders, (which so far I haven't found the time to post to) and maybe someone will find the information worth a read.

Next I have to put together a Pookatales Press mini book that just sold on ebay, and get it ready to mail. Then the next order of business is to go back to that synopsis, find the most current version, and try to shorten it further, since it's had a week or two of percolation time.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Okay, I'm still waiting on the special critique, but I'm almost done with the piece of calendar-related artwork that's been flowing out of my fingers over the past week. I've also come up with a tentative idea for a one-off book. Urban fantasy again, but with a different premise. I've always liked rewritten or novelized faery tales, and that's essentially what this would be. I've tried this particular one before in a historical setting, but it caught somewhere, stuck, and just didn't want to be written. This time...I think I may have it. Maybe. I found a mix of elements involving the basic premise of this faery tale against the backdrop of a modern-day city and a couple of modern-day subcultures. I tried out a page of it on my crit group, and they think it works. So now we'll see.

I was looking for a short story idea, since it would be good for me to get a few short story credits to my name, and the stories are something I could finish relatively quickly while waiting on that crit. But true to my typical M.O., the idea I had wasn't short story material. I also don't think it's series material, either. But a retold faerytale one-off in the urban fantasy genre...maybe that has potential. The biggest questions at this point are: Do I write it in my usual third person POV or in first? And do I make it a paranormal romance--which would lend itself well to a standalone book--or do I make it a straight urban fantasy and then hope no one wants me to make a series from it? Of course, my heart's still very firmly with Brenna and the world of Ninth Wave, so I have to consider how this standalone would impact her potential series. Choices, choices.

Ironically, while I'm deciding, this is also the week I'm supposed to work up a presentation on urban fantasy for the local speculative fiction group, due at Thursday's meeting. Maybe I'll be able to come to a decision in the process.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Back Into the Fray

Now that the holidays are over, here's hoping things begin moving forward again--in the publishing industry, in the economy, and elsewhere. For those who have been following the novel's progress, I've been waiting while a certain crucial critique comes in--haven't got it back yet--and then maybe we can start actively marketing the book again. Until then, the marketing efforts are on a brief (hopefully very brief) hiatus.

In the meantime, I'm working on the synopsis of Ninth Wave, which I may well rename again so the title sounds more like an Urban Fantasy title. I'm also working on the second Brenna book, "Brigid's Forge," and trying to sell more mini books for Pookatales Press to help make ends meet. I've also got a project involving artwork and calendars, and maybe the makings of a short story rattling around in my head trying to smooth itself into some semblance of a plot. Knowing me, that short story will probably turn into a novel. That's what happens with most of my short stories, which is part of why I have no short story credits to my name. Such short stories as I do have are currently part of my mini book line for Pookatales Press.

Waiting for news is always hard, but I suppose the best time to do it would be in the winter, when the earth around us is waiting for spring anyway.